Everything You Need to Know About the New ElterngeldPlus

Everything You Need to Know About the New ElterngeldPlus

The introduction of the new ElterngeldPlus is in sight and for many people, it is still quite unclear what this means in practice. There is only vague information available and currently no trained administrators and untransparent calculation examples. We aim to change all of that with this detailed post. We have fought for days through presentations, brochures and figures to shed light on the Elterngeld chaos for you!

Currently Elterngeld claims are spread very unevenly between the sexes and so mums tend to be the ones claiming Elterngeld the most and over a longer period than dads. The classic trend is for dads to take the two partner months. However, according to the German Family Minister, Manuela Schwesig, this should all change with the introduction of ElterngeldPlus:

We give mothers and fathers more time for family and greater flexibility. With the partnership bonus, we are promoting more equality between partners in families. – Federal Family Minister Manuela Schwesig

That all sounds wonderful but what does it mean in practice? Who can claim Elterngeld and for how long? What variants are there? And how is EltergeldPlus calculated? We have analysed the very thinly spread information available and hope that we can present this in an understandable way.


  • Living in the same household as the child
  • Child being raised mainly by the claimant
  • Claimant not working more than 30 hours / week, either in employment or self-employed/freelance
  • Claimant is resident in Germany or works in Germany
  • Applies for adopted children and for close relatives (e.g. Grandparents) if a parent dies or is sick
  • Irrespective of whether someone is unemployed, a housewife, employee or seld-employed, a student, an apprentice or a civil servant- all are entitled to claim
  • Exceptions are parents with a taxable income of more than 500,000€ in the last calendar year or single parents who earned more than 250,000 € 

Types of Elterngeld

Before, there was normal Elterngeld, which you could claim either the total monthly amount over the normal claim period or half of the monthly amount over double the claim period. You could also additionally earn up to a certain number of working hours, though the money earned would be subtracted from your Elterngeld.

E - Elterngeld mit und ohne Zuverdienst

In our example, the difference between income before and after the birth is calculated (1400 € -560 €). This is then used as the basis for the Elterngeld calculation (65%)

This is now different, as there are now two, even three variations on Elterngeld

  1. Basic Elterngeld – The ‘normal’ Elterngeld, as it’s always been with no changes..
  2. ElterngeldPlus without earnings on-top – half of basic Elterngeld over double the time period. Different than previously, not only the duration of the payment of Elterngeld changes but also the period of time during which Elterngeld can be claimed. Without earnings on top, that is less important.
  3. ElterngeldPlus with earnings on-top – half of basic Elterngeld plus income from part time work over double the time period. In this case, the improvement is very relevant, since families in which one or more parent earns an income from part-time work have more money left than they would have under the old rules.

What does half of the basic Elterngeld mean when claiming ElterngeldPLUS with earnings on-top and what effect does this have on payments?

E- ElterngeldPLUS

In our example, despite earning 560€ per month on top of your Elterngeld, with ElterngeldPLUS, you would earn 4368€ more over two years than you would have under the old rules..

To give you an overview of the differences, we have created a comparison for you:

Basic Elterngeld ElterngeldPlus


  • Depends on nett salary from the last 12 months before the birth or the last (or upon request the year before last) tax year
  • Percentage calculated according to income level:
  • > 1200€ – 66,9- 65% (-0,1% per 2€)
  • 1000-1200€ –         67%
  • < 1000€ – 67,1% -100% (+0,1% per 2€)
  • Minimum 300€ and maximum 1800€
  • Sibling bonus of 10%, min. 75€




  • In principle the same as basic Elterngeld

Without earnings during receipt of Elterngeld:

  • Half of the basic Elterngeld, spread over double the time
  • Min. half of 300€ and max. 1800€
  • Sibling bonus: Half of 10% and min. 75€
  • Multiple bonus reduced to 150€

With earnings on top of Elterngeld payout:

  • Applicable percentage is 65% of the difference between the average nett income before the birth plus earnings post-birth
  • Average income from:
  • Max. half of the basic Elterngeld spread across double the time period
  • Individul earnings, according to employment



Claim Period


  • Minimum claim period is two months and maximum is 12 months for one parent
  • Joint entitlement (both parents) is 14 months
  • 2 additonal partner months in which both parents can claim Elterngeld
  • Note: Monthly maternity pay (Mutterschaftsgeld) are factored into Elternzeit/Elterngeld, meaning that the claim period for Elterngeld is shortened
  • Father can claim Elterngeld during this time (Partner months)
  • Single parents are entitled to 14 months on their own
  • Elterngeld can be split over 24 months (28 for single parents) at half of the amount. Note: This means that due to the 8 weeks of maternity pay following the birth that there are no payments during the last 4 months of Elternzeit since Mutterschaftsgeld was paid out in full
Claim Period


  • Until now only the payment period was extended (half of the Elterngeld amount, spread over 24 months), now the claim period has been extended beyond 14 months
  • Max. claim period can be prolonged to maximum 28 months using the 4 partner months (in the form of Elterngeld PLUS months)
  • This is possible when both parents work part time (25-30 hours) at the same time. The partner bonus must be taken once in its’ entirety. This is particularly worthwhile for parents who earn a similar amount
  • Now couples can stretch their Elterngeld over 28 months
  • This bonus is granted to single parents who share custody of their child
  • How partner months are used for single parents along is currently unclear
  • Elterngeld claim period = payment period



Calculation Basis


  • For employees, civil servants, apprentices: Nett income from the last 12 months before the birth month
  • Months in which there were loss of earnings due to pregnancy-related sickness or a work ban are not counted
  • For self-employed workers: Profit according to tax statement from the last tax year or when not available, provisional payments based on income statement or balance sheet
  • For employees who are self employed in parallel, the same calculation period applies as for purely self-employed applicants


Calculation Basis


  • As with basic Elterngeld



Also good to know…

That the public health insurance remains as-is during the whole of your Elternzeit

  • Compulsory members don’t pay any contributions
  • Those covered by family insurance continue to be covered for free
  • Those who are self-employed and privately insured must continue to pay their premiums

From 15 months, even whilst ElterngeldPlus is being claimed, Betreuungsgeld (150 Euro) can also be claimed if the child does not attend Kindergarten.

Claiming Elterngeld does not necessarily mean that Elternzeit needs to be taken. This means that those who are self-employed can claim Elterngeld, despite not taking Elternzeit.

Since most employees take Elterngeld along with Elternzeit, they shouldn’t forget to apply for Elternzeit with their employer.

You can claim Elterngeld three months retrospectively, following which you lose your eligibility for that time period.

Pension payments amount to the average yearly earnings of all members for a maximum of 3 years.

Still unclear…

So far, the Bundeselterngeld- and Elternzeit Act specifies that for the months after the birth, additional income must be on average lower than income before birth in order to calculate the total amount of ElterngeldPlus based on income differential (before and after the birth).

It’s not yet clear how earned income impacts on the amount of ElterngeldPlus received. There will probably be a cap but this has not yet been finalized. This is the crux of whether ElterngeldPlus really fulfills the promises made in speeches and presentations of the ministry and whether it is practicable for families in real life.

The bottom line is that parents who work part time over a longer period will receive the same amount of Elterngeld as those who don’t work during this time.

Current Information Regarding Official Offices:

The Elterngeldstellen (the offices that process Elterngeld) will, as far as we could learn, be brought up to date regarding ElterngeldPlus in July (at least that is the status in Berlin). Therefore if you have questions, it will be difficult to get the correct answers until then.


We will of course keep you up to date with all important developments and report in the blog. If you have any questions regarding Elterngeld or ElterngeldPlus, we are happy to advise. Simply write us an email to

Here is a final illustration showing once again the graphics in direct comparison:

E- Basiselterngeld-ElterngeldPLUS Gesamt

Photo credits

Main image: evgenyatamanenko

Calculation examples: alphaspirit, oksox



  1. How do they determine if you are calculated as being self employed or not?

    • Thanks for your comment.
      If you are self employed, you need to register as a Gewerbe. If it’s your first year of trading, I assume you would have no tax return stating that you are self-employed and therefore you would need to write a declaration that this is the case, estimate your income over the period in question and then hand in your ‘Steuerbescheid’ once you have it. You can then either get money back from the Elterngeldstelle or you may have to return some of the money, depending on how your estimates worked out.

  2. Hi. Am still confused. ElterngeldPlus allows part time work. I have a permanent full-time contract. To enter into ElterngeldPlus, do I have to sign a new contract for the period of part-time work I do as part of ElterngeldPlus ?.

    For simplicity, let say I have a net income of €3000 per month. I opt for ElterngeldPlus and enter into a 30hours a week contract – Mon(6hrs.), Tue(8hrs.), Wed(8hrs.) and Thur(8hrs.) *OR*, Tue(10hrs.), Wed(10hrs.), Thurs(10hrs.). This means my part-time salary will be €2250. Loss is €750. So ElterngeldPlus = 0.65*750= €487.5

    I can expect €2737.5 per month plus an additional €184 (Kindergeld) ?

    Also, the ElterngeldPlus amount is not taxable (income tax) and is not used to account for Insurance or any other social contribution ?

    My wife is unemployed, but does she have any claim towards Elterngeld or any financial assistance from the government separately ?

    Many Thanks!!!!!!

    • Thanks for your comment.
      No, you don’t need to sign a new contract. You are entitled to work part-time during your Elternzeit and once this period is over, you would go back to work full-time as per your contract. Your calculation seems correct. A useful place to calculate your exact income is here:
      When you claim Elterngeld, you need to do a tax return at the end of the year, despite no tax being charged on Elterngeld. Your Rentenversicherung and Krankenversicherung (if you are on the public insurance system) are covered for you, free of charge (obviously if you’re working reduced hours, this is taken into account).
      Your wife should be able to claim the minimum of 300 Euro, depending on her status.
      If you would like to find out more about paperwork and Elterngeld /Kindergeld etc, we have a workshop this Sunday in Berlin:
      Or drop us a mail if you would like to have a one to one consultation.
      All the best

  3. This is so helpful!.Thank you very much. My husband and I have been going mad trying to figure out how to best do this.

    I just want to make sure i have this correct. Our second child was born in December last year and my husband and I have already taken a total of four months basic Elterngeld (my monthly total was 1,060; my husband 750).

    I have returned to work, working less than twenty hours a week. My monthly income now is 1,113. My husband has also returned to work, at 20-30 hours a week.

    Is this monthly calculation correct with regards to my Elterngeld Plus:

    50% of basic Elterngeld = 530
    Monthly earnings = 1,133
    10% sibling bonus = 160
    TOTAL PER MONTH = 1,823
    Claim period: 24 months

    Thanks so much!

  4. Hi,

    I , as the father would want to take Elternzeit during the 8th and 9th “lebensmonate”. In this case, the elterngeld is calculated based on my earnings in the last 12 months before the 8th lebensmonate or 12 months before the birth of the child ?

    I have not earned complete for 12 months before the birth of the child.

    • Dear Cetan, The income in the 12 months prior to the birth is the income on which your Elterngeld is based.
      I hope that helps. If you would like a personal consultation, please feel free to get in touch!

  5. Hi,

    I am working in a electrical company, the net income for me about 2500 Euros and my wife is not working,I think she will get 300 Euros/ per month. Please give us suggestions which is better in our case Eletrngeld or eleterngeld plus?

  6. Hello! Thanks for the really useful information. One thing we are confused about is the how the max claim amount affects the amount of Elterngeld you can claim when working full time. If you are claiming for 20 hours (half the usual hours of your full time position) for example, would the amount of Elterngeld be capped at €900 (half of the 1800 usual cap) or would the cap for the part time claim still be 1800? Hope that makes sense. Thanks for your advice

    • Sorry, I meant when working PART time

    • Hi Laura, If you take Basis Elterngeld, you would get up to 1800 Euro for 12(14) months. If you take ElterngeldPlus , you would get up to 900 Euro for 24(28) months. If you are working 20 hours, the calculation would be: Amount earned (netto=after tax) on full time salary MINUS amount earned on part time salary (netto=after tax) multiplied by 65%. You can do the more detailed calculation using the Elterngeldrechner here:
      Happy calculating!

  7. Hi,

    I’m canadian and my wife is German. We are expecting our first child in july 2017. We have been in Europe since June 2016. I however, didn’t work until Oct 2016 as I was waiting for the proper visa. That means when the baby is born, I will not have 12 months work in total. Am I understanding this correctly that I am not eligible for Eltern Zeit?

    Also, my wife isn’t working and hasn’t worked. Does she receive anything? I have read and heard that she gets the minimum which is 300, but I find that hard to believe.


    • Hi Tim, Your income from the (10) months before the birth would be divided by 12. You are still eligible for Elternzeit /Elterngeld.
      If your wife is allowed to work in Germany then she is entitled to claim the 300 Euro minimum.

      If you would like to talk personally about the options, feel free to drop me an email to and we can arrange a consultation.


  8. Hello!!
    I am receiving elterngeld and will stsrt to work 30h next monday, when my baby will be 7 months old. My doubt is: as i will come back to work on the 20th of the month, i will receive only the proportional of 10 days of work??? Ot worries me as the elterngeld will be already shorter in the first of march and i will receive my salary also 1st of march, but this was not clear, as i had to start working on the “completion of the baby lebensmonat” that is not in the 1st of the month…
    so it would be really a low income – thats what i am afraid.
    What will be the total amount?

    • Hi Cris, You will receive the Elterngeld until the day before the day of the month your baby turns 7 months (if you have claimed it until then) and then the salary pro rated for the month (so in proportion to the number of days you worked) It shouldn’t be too complicated. i.e. Elterngeld til the 20th of the month and then salary from 20th-28th of the month.
      Hope this helps!

  9. Hi,

    We recently arrived in Munich with my family and I came from India. We have 6 months old child and my wife is house wife (even when she was in India).

    I hold a permanent contract in Germany and it is valid from 01.03.2017. Whether my wife is eligible to get Elterngeld since the kid was not born in Germany but kid age is 6 months now?

    Please suggest us and let me know if you need more info.


    • Hi Santhosh,
      Yes, you can apply for Elterngeld even if your child wasn’t born in Germany. If your wife lives in Germany and would be eligible to work, was she not at home with the baby, then she can claim 300 Euro / month until your child is 14 months old.
      Hope this helps!

      • Hi Lorna,

        Thanks a lot for your reply.
        But I have 1 doubt in your reply. What do you mean by “would be eligible to work”? Can you please clarify this so that it would be really helpful for us.

        Currently my wife is in Germany along with me on family visa (dependant visa) and taking care of my son.


  10. Dear Lorna,

    Thank you very much for these very helpful comments.
    Is it possible that I take 2 years elternzeit and only work in the second one? How would the elterngeld be calculated?
    During the time someone is taking elternzeit, the employee is protected from lossing the job, right?

    Thank you
    Kind regards

    • We offer workshops regarding the Elterngeld (allbeit in Berlin) and individual consultations in person or via Skype/phone. I would be happy to talk you through this in more detail.

  11. Hi,
    Our baby was born 14th june. My wife plans to take 12 months elterngeld and I 2months.
    However, after the first month i am now back at work. I want to take the second month elternzeit in july next year. (So total of 2 months)

    Question is, can I still get elterngeld for both 2 months by splitting them up this way? Do i have to send in two separate applications? Thanks

    • Hi Joey, You can split the two months. You don’t need to send in separate applications but you should make sure you tell your employer (in writing) 7 weeks before you want to take your Elternzeit and get a written confirmation of this. This confirmation needs to go to the Elterngeldstelle along with any other supporting documents they require.
      If you need any help with the process, we offer skype consultations and would be happy to give you some tips 🙂

  12. Hallo!!
    Thanks for sharing this!!
    Two doubts:
    1) in case I separate while receiving elterngeldplus, my tax class will change from 5 to 2? (Nowadays I am 5 and husband 3). Or during this time it doesn’t change? Only after finish the elterngeld? He wants us to change so he can receive a bit more, but for me changing from 5 to 2 would mean more than 500 shorter…
    2) if I declare taxes next year, due to be receiving elterngeldplus for one year, I will need to pay taxes back?

    • Hi Cristina,
      Unfortunately we are not able to give specific advice regarding taxes. We recommend that you speak to a qualified tax accountant in order to address these questions.
      All the best!

  13. Hi, Thanks for the article. If I take the basic elterngeld is there any small amount of work I can do at this time?

  14. Hi Lorna,

    Two quick questions:
    1. is it possible for a mother to, after Mutterschutz period, star working part-time and receive elterngeldPlus, and then take the full parental leave, without work? This is in no connection or combination with father’s options as he has no contract in Germany. I was told that this order (first work then leave) is rather unusual.

    1. in general, does the elternzeit start (and elterngeld is paid) starting from the end of Mutterschutz period?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Tamara,

      Elodie here, one of the concierges at maternita. In answer to your questions…

      1. Yes it is possible, unusual but possible.
      2. Yes Elternzeit starts when Mutterschutz ends (if you’re taking Elternzeit that is).

      All the best!

  15. Hi,

    Can I choose elterngeld plus and still work 40hours per week (30hrs in the office and 10 hrs as work from home)?

    Or Should I not work more than 30 hrs per week?


  16. I have a net income of €2200 per month. I apply for ElterngeldPlus and enter into a 30hours a week contract. Could you please help to calculate the expected income per month?

  17. Hi Lorna,
    Really good article, thanks!
    Do you know how the ElterngeldPlus work with Kita Gutschein when a baby is younger than 12 months?

    My daughter is 6 months old. This month I went back to work full time, and she started Kita, with a Kita gutschein 7-9h/day. I’m considering now limiting number of hours at work (most likely to 30h/week), but I’m afraid we’d loose a place in the Kita.


    • Hi Karolina,
      Working 30h / week should not change anything to your Kitagutschein. The Gutschein takes into account travel time from home to Kita to work and back again so most parents who work 30h / week get a 7-9h Gutschein when they request it.
      All the best, Elodie

  18. Hi again,

    I couldn’t find any information about what would be the minimum number of hours if one wants to work part-time during parental leave. Max is 30hrs/week, but the minimum?


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